16 May 2012

Fernandez and Weinberg cause upsets

Match Report

Gustavo Fernandez (ARG)

Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina caused the biggest upset of the 2012 Japan Open so far when he beat world No. 1 Maikel Scheffers in the men’s singles second round on a highly dramatic third day of play at the third Super Series event of the year on the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour

Fernandez, the current world No. 1 ranked junior and senior men’s world No. 15, saved two match points in the second set of his contest against the Dutch top seed and then came from 4-1 down in the second set to record a remarkable 67(5) 76(3) 75 victory after more than three hours on court.

There will be at least one unseeded player in the semifinals after Belgium’s Joachim Gerard, himself a former top ranked junior player defeated Augustin Ledesma 61 75 to end hopes of an all Argentinean  quarterfinal.

The remaining six seeds all progressed to the last eight, but defending champion Shingo Kunieda had to work hard in his first ever match on the NEC Tour against Britain’s Gordon Reid before finally securing a 63 76(5) victory, having been 6-5 down in the second set and facing three set points against him.

Kunieda is likely to face an even tougher task in the quarterfinals if he is to stay on track for his seventh successive Japan Open title. Kunieda plays world No. 6 Michael Jeremiasz of France in the last eight after Jeremiasz recovered from a slow start against Dutchman Tom Egberink to win their second round contest 36 60 63.

Jeremiasz or Kunieda would face Dutch opposition in the last four after former Japan Open champion Robin Ammerlaan and world No. 4 Ronald Vink eased into the quarterfinals following straight sets wins.

There will also be French interest in the other quarterfinal as second seed Stephane Houdet beat Australia’s Adam Kellerman 63 61 to set up a meeting with Sweden’s world No. 8 Stefan Olsson, who ended prospects of an all-French quarterfinal  when he overcame Frederic Cattaneo 63 75.

Weinberg beats world No. 2 Norfolk in quad singles quarterfinals

Three-time Japan Open champion Peter Norfolk saw his quest for a fourth title in Fukuoka come to an end in this year’s quarterfinals as both British players in the bottom half of the draw were involved in the day’s two most fascinating quad singles matches.

World No. 9 Shraga Weinberg proved to be world No. 2 Norfolk’s better on the day as the Iraeli sixth seed and former world No. 1 etched out a 64 64 victory.

Meanwhile, fifth seed Jamie Burdekin came within just a few points of defeating  fourth seed Nick Taylor of USA in his quarterfinal, but Taylor held on to ensure that he wouldn’t slip to his third loss to Burdekin in their last three Super Series quarterfinals and eventually wrapped up a 36 76(4) 62 victory.

In the top half of the draw neither world No. 1 David Wagner nor world No 3 Noam Gershony had too many problems. Defending champion Wagner beat his fellow American Bruyan Barten 61 76(5) and the top seed will now face Gershony, who doubles the Israeli presence  in the last for when he beat South African seventh seed Lucas Sithole 64 62.

Griffioen and Kamiji set for rematch

A year ago defending champion Jiske Griffioen was given arguably her greatest challenge en route to her second Japan Open title by the host nation’s world No. 1 ranked junior Yui Kamiji, who the Dutchwoman met in the quarterfinals.

The two players will meet again at the same stage of the tournament this year after overcoming tough American challengers in the second round. World No. 3 and second seed  Griffioen booked her place in the last eight after beating Kaitlyn Verfuerth 75 63, while Kamiji needed two tiebreaks  before edging out Emmy Kaiser 76(3) 76(5) on Kaiser’s 22nd birthday.

The other six seeds had more comfortable passages into the quarterfinals, as Dutch top seed Aniek van Koot and South African eighth seed Kgothatso Montjane beat Japan’s Yuko Okabe and Kanako Domori respectively, while fourth seed Sabine Ellerbrock of Germany defeated Korea’s Myung-Hee Hwang 61 63 to set up a quarterfinal against Australia’s former world No. 1 and sixth seed Daniela di Toro. Di Toro, who is also a former five–time Japan Open champion, beat Chile’s Francisca Mardones 62 61 in her second round match.

There will be just one all-Dutch quarterfinal  after world No. 4 Marjolein Buis beat Korea’s Ju-Yeon Park 60 63 and world No. 9 Sharon Walraven eased to a 60 62 victory over Germany’s Katharina Kruger.

Japan Open - Latest Draws

Order of Play: Thursday, 17 May